“Goodman Ernest, your application for life expectancy has been denied.”

Ernest, as his own legal representation, was standing at the podium before the masked council. When he heard their pronouncement, he nearly fell off the stand.

“Council! I beg appeal!”

The head councilwoman banged her gavel; the advantage of psychic links between the council was immediate judgment. “Appeal granted. State your case.”

“I have lived three hundred years. I have taught our children, I have been a lawyer, a pimp and a priest, I have redesigned a product and I conducted an orchestra. Council, I have lifetimes full of accomplishments.”

A Councilman at the end of the long table shook his masked face, and the head Councilwoman closed her eyes, receiving opinions through her psychic neural implants. When she finally spoke, her eyes remained shut. “Indeed you do Goodman Ernest. We have reviewed your accomplishments and found them suitable for two lifetimes, but not three. Reviewing the facts, we have noticed that in the last 50 years you have lived off of the proceeds on the wise investments from your bestselling audio feed. You have failed to contribute anything further to society and are living off the fruits of past labors.”

Goodman Ernest put both hands over his heart, the gesture for mercy. “I appeal for a retroactive sabbatical.”

“Denied. Retroactive sabbaticals are only applicable to those who can demonstrate significant emotional or physical injury, besides which, no sabbaticals over ten years are ever granted, and you would need to be granted a sabbatical of over seventy three years.”

“Council. I am capable of contributing society again.”

“As stated by our constitution, when a person slows its pace through our world, it is time for them to move aside and allow the innovations of those younger beings to take their space. The ripe fruit must give way to the seed.” The council’s language was always flowery, a result of the impassioned arguments flowing between them.

“I appeal to your sense of mercy. I am capable of giving, of innovating. I can reinvent myself again. Grant me the years to prove that I can give a lifetime to our people.”

There was a moment of silence and the head Councilwoman finally opened her eyes. “In reflection of your reluctance to depart this mortal coil, we shall grant you a period of five years in which to make your contribution.”

“Five years!” Goodman Ernest felt faint. Five years was a blink, you could barely make a plan for change in five years. “You expect me to give a lifetime in five years?”

“Think of our ancestors, and what they gave to us in their short lives. Imagine them, and show yourself worthy of their legacy. Go, and make your mark.”